Actual Listeria outbreaks and emergencies, Dr. McEntire notes, are connected chiefly to contamination in processing and packing environments.
“I don’t anticipate, and don’t recommend, that farmers change any practices as a result of this study,” she says. “Can Listeria be internalized in romaine lettuce? Yes. Is it likely to occur at a level that will cause an outbreak? No. People should not be dissuaded from eating fresh produce. It has immense health benefits and people should continue to increase consumption as opposed to respond to sensationalistic science.”